The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Church schools get contract for recruits

The Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations, has conveyed its nod to the English-medium schools affiliated to it in Calcutta on appointing teachers and employees on ‘contract’. At the same time, however, the Council has made it clear that stern action may be taken against the institutions if they are found “exploiting” any employee under the “hire-and-fire” policy.

“The schools will not enjoy the privilege of hiring and firing employees any longer,” asserted Francis Fanthome, secretary and chief executive of the Council, addressing an assembly of principals of ICSE schools in Calcutta.

Behind the Council’s decision lies a recent Supreme Court verdict suggesting that educational boards — like the ICSE Council, which has so far functioned merely as examining and affiliating body — may be empowered with a larger say in the recruitment policies of unaided minority schools.

But sources said the Council’s move also follows repeated complaints from teachers’ lobbies, citing “retrenchment of employees on flimsy grounds”.

Council chief executive Fanthome explained: “The schools may appoint staff on contract. But under no circumstances will they be allowed to retrench an employee before the expiry of the contract.” The ‘contract’ should be a “binding document” and once signed, “its terms and conditions will have to be followed strictly by both parties — the school and the employee,” Fanthome added.

The Council has appealed to all principals to ensure that the “contract is well-equipped” before any person is appointed.

The recent Supreme Court judgment, however, also grants a larger say to the state governments in the internal affairs of minority institutions that avail of government grants.

The Council organised a meeting here last week with the heads of Anglo-Indian schools — those offering ICSE courses — to discuss their role, as well as that of the Council — in the wake of the apex court verdict. Going by the Supreme Court ruling, the Anglo-Indian schools that do not avail of assistance from the state will be “out of government control.”

Ismail Nehal, president, Association of Teachers of Anglo-Indian Schools, welcomed the Council’s directives.

“So far, many of the ICSE schools were bound by government dictates. Once the apex court judgment is put into effect, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations will have a major role to play in the administrative functioning of the schools. We are happy that the Council will be in a position to function as a regulatory body, as this will help the institutions maintain their traditionally high academic standards,” said Nehal.

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